Vertigo

You’ve sent the manuscript on its way to your agent. You feel a sense of vertigo, but it passes. In the first week, you are elated. You can stop dwelling on every sentence, every piece of dialogue, every scene. A weight has been lifted. You allow yourself an extra glass of wine. Or two. Or maybe more.  Cheers to me, you think. You’ve finished another book.

About Day Six, the elation gives way to hollowness. You try to distract yourself. You pretend to start writing something new. You increase the amount of scribbling in your notebook. You write obsessively about the weather. Sometimes you succeed at writing a short short story. You do not send it out.

Over the first few weeks, you hold onto your faith in the novel. The book you have written is a wonderful piece of work. At times, you allow it to slip to the back of your mind as you work on your short short stories and read the books you’ve been wanting to read.

Then the third week rolls around and you succumb to the temptation to think about why she hasn’t called you. You tell yourself not to think about it. But you wonder what she thinks of it—your manuscript.  She hates the book. That’s the reason. You forgot to send the last five chapters. Could that be? No. You checked it twelve times before you sent it off.

She hates the book. She just doesn’t have the heart to tell you.

Then reason returns. She hasn’t talked to you because she hasn’t finished reading it. She’s incredibly busy. Would you want her to give it short shrift?

Another week or two or three and then another month elapse, and cycle repeats itself: calm, worry, frustration, worry, frustration, calm. You begin to devise stratagems to get her attention, perhaps sending her a note about a book you read that “touches on a bit of the emotion I depict in my novel,” but you don’t because you know how pathetically transparent a ploy it is.

Then one morning the message is waiting for you.

“I’d like to set up time to talk about Seaborn. Would you let me know some times that work for you?”

There’s no doubt. She hates it. The vertigo returns.

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